Beware of robotexts

Recently, I have noticed that I have been getting text messages that seem a little off. They sometimes come from a local number and an organization I do business with, like PayPal or Amazon. Usually, they tell me that something is wrong with my account. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that they are increasingly seeing reports of scammers using text messages to target American consumers. These text messages are called robotexts.

What is a robotext? Scam text messages are also known as “smishing.” They are sent by scammers seeking to get you to engage with them. The FCC reports that they are trying to get you to give up your personal information, such as a password, Social Security number or account number. They also could be looking to scam you out of money.

Scammers will try different ways to trick you. They promise gift cards, help you to pay off a student loan, or offer you a low or no-interest credit card. The text may contain misspellings, mysterious links, incomplete information or misleading information. Also, be on the lookout for messages that say “they have noticed suspicious activity on your account,” send you a fake invoice, or a fake package delivery notice. The message may contain a link that may take you to a spoofed website that looks like the real thing. If you log into it, the scammer can steal your password to your real account. Other messages could install malware on your phone, and then scammers can steal all your other passwords.

What can you do to protect yourself? Do not respond to suspicious text messages, even if the message includes a link to stop future messages. Do not click on any links contained in the text message. Do not provide the scammer with any information via text or website. Delete all suspicious text messages without clicking on any links. Make sure to keep your devices up to date with the last iOS and security apps. Review the company’s policies regarding opting out of text alerts and selling or sharing your information with third parties. If you think the text could be legitimate, contact the company from known sources of information you know are real.

You can also report suspicious text messages by copying them and forwarding them to 7726 (SPAM) or report them to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Information Provided by: Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission

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